July 24, 2019

School choices are basic and limited

The quality of education you receive should not be determined by where you live.

I am from a small town in central Maine. I am an honors student, who is looking forward to high school, college and a successful, challenging career. Recently my eighth grade classmates and I had the opportunity to look at what our high school offers for courses.

Comparing these courses to what is offered around the state, I am surprised and disappointed to learn that our choices are basic and limited. We are offered only the bare essentials needed to graduate from high school, and perhaps inadequate offerings in our preparation for college.

For example, students at Yarmouth High School have foreign language choices such as Latin, French, Spanish and Russian, while I have French or Spanish as choices. My elective courses of business math, speech and drama, and current events pale in comparison to psychology, film study, design techology and business law offered at Wells High School. Independent Living, College Notetaking/Speed Writing and Home Economics would better prepare me for college life.

Advanced and specialty courses such as Advanced Studio Art, Photography II, Mytholoy and Foklore and Technology III give students variety and make classes and school fun. Unfortunately, these classes are not offered at Penquis Valley, but are offered elsewhere.

Academics are not the only differences that separate our schools around the state. I believe co-curricular activities are also important for a well-rounded high school experience. Activities such as tennis, swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, football, ice hockey, field hockey, track, dance, debate and peforming arts are activities that I cannot participate in again, due to the school I attend.

Students from smaller towns that are unable to support expanded school programs through increased property taxes are being discriminated against. Members of the Maine Legislature in Augusta are setting us up for failure when we apply to college by having to compete with students from southern Maine, the United States and the world, who have had all of these challenging, extra classes. If we don’t have a chance to take them, how can we prove to college admissions boards that we can compete in classes of that caliber? We are losing opportunities for scholarships, and chances to go to better schools.

Maine needs to get its priorities straight. I don’t believe that the southern schools should have anything taken away, but I do believe that students from the rest of the state should have the same opportunities.

We are the future. We need equal education to prepare us for college, and more importantly, for tomorrow, because we are the future of the state of Maine. Amanda Walker is a student at Penquis Valley Middle School in Milo.

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